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Guest Editorial

Holiday hints for a happy wife

BY LISA EARLE MCLEOD

A chubby guy sops up his bloody nose with a red lace thong. A young groom tries to hide the sparkly, white hand-held mixer jutting from his ear. And a middle-aged man pushing a vacuum cleaner appears to have the hose hanging out of the back of his pants.

They're all guilty of the same heinous crime.

The hilarious video, "Do Not Buy Your Wife the Wrong Christmas Gift," can be seen throughout the holiday at www.YouTube.com, but the painful repercussions of poor present picking will be felt year-round.

Women are often disappointed, but my cocktail party surveys reveal that men are frustrated as well. They want to please their wives, but they feel like only expensive jewelry or a new car will do.

My own dear husband takes a lot of grief in this column, what with talking about his sex life, career issues, and eating habits. But when it comes gift giving, Bob is a true master. Rather than simply buying the most sparkly thing he can find, he pays close attention to my life, and chooses gifts that make me feel treasured and adored.

So in the interest of creating peace on earth, and keeping husbands out of the ER, I have some suggestions. Here are a few common female challenges, Bob's most memorable solutions, and some ideas to help other men get into their wives' good graces.

Wifely Whine No. 1: I'm a disorganized mess.

Admin Bob to the Rescue: Pre-Palm Pilot, he bought me a Rolodex and organized my thousands of collected business cards into it.

Husband Hints: A gorgeous Franklin Covey bag stocked with the company's "Her Point of View" organizer (beautiful, functional and filled with inspiring quotes, FranklinCovey.com), Franklin's "Switchable" four-piece accessory pack, a portable IRIS Card Mini biz card scanner (Mac and PC compatible, IrisLink.com) and a blazing red Casio Exilim digital camera means no more shoeboxes of unlabeled photos.

Wifely Whine No. 2: I'm a frumpy dumpy housewife.

Big Bob's Beauty Secret: As a breast-feeding mom, I teared up when he presented a beautifully made, loose fitting, machine-washable, button-front shirt that "exactly matches your pretty eyes."

Husband Hints: If you've criticized her looks in the past, move to the next category. But if you truly think she's beautiful, and you want her to see herself the way you do, outfit her with some cool Geox leather boots (comfy, waterproof and breathable, Nordstrom.com), NYD Tummy Tuck Jeans (comfy and flattering for "Real Women With Real Curves," TummyTuckJeans.com), a Tarte make up gift pack (best cheek stain and lip gloss ever, TarteCosmetics.com) and drop low-cal SinNamon kettle corn ( LesserEvil.com) into her pretty mouth while she discovers sexy women with tummies in the hilarious novel "It's Never Too Late to Look Hot," by Heather Estay (Harper Collins, $12.95).

Wifely Whine No. 3: I do everything for everyone.

Bob's Home Spa Bliss: Frequent no-strings attached back rubs.

Husband Hints: Nestle her onto a Homedics Quad Roller Massaging Cushion ( Homedics.com), spray her chair with Heal Thyself Pillow Spray ( NoahsNaturals.com), serve her Oasis Green Tea (luxurious silken infusers, TeaForte.com) or if she's really cranky, a Jose Cuervo ready-to-serve Golden Margarita. Feed her Chocolate Cherry Clusters (a three-box organic Tower of Treats from HarryandDavid.com lets her keep the sweets and re-gift the cheese and jelly) and then rub her tootsies with Gold Bond Foot Cream (a spa feel for a drug-store price) while she curls up with a copy of "The Book of No - 250 Ways to Say It and Mean It," by Susan Newman (McGraw Hill, $14.95).

Wifely Whine No. 4: Business travel is turning me into a schlepping sherpa.

Bob's Little Luxury: Arranging for an airport car service and plugging their number into my cell phone.

Husband Hints: A red carry-on wheeled upright from High Sierra (cute, lightweight and a padded laptop sleeve, HighSierraSport.com) packed with a Plantronics Bluetooth headset (no echo dashing through terminals, Plantronics.com) a travel-size Tempur-Pedic Pillow (no airplane bobble head, visit TempurPedic.com) and a classic non-iron, fitted white shirt (whips out unwrinkled for fashion emergencies, BrooksBrothers.com.) And if you can't spring for a car service, help her remember where she parked with a Discovery voice recording key chain ( Shopping.Discovery.com).

Take a lesson from Bob - well thought-out gifts make for a very happy holiday indeed.

Lisa Earle McLeod is a nationally recognized speaker and the author of "Forget Perfect: Finding Joy, Meaning, and Satisfaction in the Life You've Already Got and the YOU You Already Are."

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